#PapuanLivesMatter Is Different with #BlackLivesMatter

Waves of demonstration with #BlackLivesMatter occurred in the US starting from May 26, 2020, in several US cities. This action was carried out as a demand for the death of George Floyd by the US Police in Minneapolis one day before. The death of George Floyd triggered an act of solidarity condemning racial acts and rejecting racism worldwide that often occur to the black people. They condemned the cruelty of the officer who was still racist, who assumed that all black people were negatively similar. This case spontaneously took public attention, not only in America but also throughout the world.

Unfortunately, the accident has revived the supporters of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which emerged in 2013, to return protesting to demand justice. It also received global support from South Africa, Australia, Britain, and Japan. Yet in America’s history, there has long been equality between white and black people, which were fought by Martin Luther King.

In Indonesia, the #BlackLivesMatter movement formed into #PapuanLivesMatter movement. The #BlackLivesMatter movements, which concern in the US by proposing the issue of discrimination, is formed identically, but with different purpose by the pro-liberation supporters of Papua and West Papua who demands the separation of Papua from Indonesia. The movement began from the social media with #PapuanLivesMatter hashtag until it gained public attention and turn into a street movement.

Papuans can indeed be said similar to American Negroes ranging from their stature to skin color. However, the issue of #PapuanLivesMatter imitates the racism that occurs abroad, but it penetrates the matter of separatism. It should be realized that the two issues significantly have different goals so that what can become a solution for one issue may not be the same for the other one.

#BlackLivesMatter #PapuanLivesMatter

Demonstrators who use #PapuanLivesMatter are questionable. Are those all Papuans? Of course not. Is there any supporting force behind the movement? It’s worth questioning. Papuan student in Yogyakarta, Abner Wanggai, believes that the treatment of Indonesian citizens from other ethnic groups to Papuans is fine. Unfortunately, sometimes Papuans fall into negative issues circulating in several media lately. Besides, many people had acknowledged that Papuans are intelligent and adore the motherland. A native Papuan who was the World Physics Olympic champion, Septinus Saa, glows Indonesia’s name with achievements. There are also many athletes, political figures, researchers, and Indonesian ambassadors come from Papua.

As a social community, showing sympathy to the George Floyd case is fine. Diversity in skin color, hair, ethnicity, language, and culture in the world, especially in Indonesia, are indeed undoubted. However, the #BlackLivesMatter action is certainly different from #PapuanLivesMatter. #PapuanLivesMatter was purposely raised by people who have no adore for the Unitary Republic of Indonesia. No racism, slavery, or discrepancies in rights, even President of Indonesia Joko Widodo has emphasized that the development priorities are directed towards Eastern Indonesia.

“Unity is fixed prices, Unity in Diversity, we are still one even though we are different. Greetings unity, reject #PapuanLivesMatter “


Thobias Rumbiak S.Sos., M.Si.

Papuan anthropologist

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